A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Honest Politicians
Saturday, November 01, 2014



Centre left Villa, to his right Zapata

When as a conscript sailor you find yourself, part of a contingent of troops surrounding the presidential palace of Buenos Aires, la Casa Rosada, and through a loudspeaker you give an ultimatum to the freely elected President of Argentina to leave within 60 minutes or accept the consequences, the idea of participating in a democracy becomes a sham of sorts. Funnier still when you note that the gentle and very honest country doctor, Doctor Arturo Illía went home in a cab.

This happened to me and what was worse is that on June 20 of the previous year I, and thousands more conscript sailors, had sworn allegiance to our flag, constitution and the elected government.

But for many years in Latin America many thought that the chaos of inefficient and dishonest government could be checked with the “order” of a military coup. Many of us for years have stated that when a general has gotten all the stars available the next rank is president of the nation. Two notable exceptions ( sort of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus kind of men) were Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa who after being photographed on the Mexican chair of presidency got up and left town.

There are rumours now in Mexico that with the crisis of the disappearance of the students who were studying to be teachers in the state of Guerrero, that many are clamouring for a military order.

I remember reading in Time Magazine a column which was illustrated by a black limousine in front of the entrance to the White House. The photograph had a cut-line which said something like, “Criminal lawyer’s car, on the front steps of the White House there to defend President Richard Nixon”. While we Latin Americans had long known that only the worst of people would seek political office and that they were sure to rob the treasury, it was amazing the shock that affected so many, perhaps naïve, Americans that their president was a crook.

When Rosemary, our two Mexican-born daughters and I moved to Vancouver in 1975 it was a relief not to be afraid of policemen and to know that bureaucracy was minimal. Few in my Argentine side of the family believe that I can replace a lost driver’s license in less than two weeks and after a very short queue. Even fewer believe when I tell them that until most recently our Vancouver politicians drove around without escort.

In my years as a Vancouver magazine photographer I have met and photographed many local, provincial and federal politicians. Just a few have impressed me with intelligence and honesty.

I remember vividly when architect Ned Pratt and I walked my neighbourhood in an effort to understand the demolition of so many houses that were replaced by gigantic version of wedding cakes. He told me, “I have been going trough long paper-work to get a permit to fix my garage in my Shaughnessy home but these developers must have a direct line to City Hall. I believed him then and as I note what is happening in our Vancouver now I understand Pratt’s perspicacity, one that came from years of having dealt with many at City Hall.

While many of my contemporaries might disagree I had a fondness for the likes of  Harry Rankin, Art Phillips, Carole Taylor, Carole James, Jack Munro and few others. I liked both Sam Sullivan and the now Senator  Larry Campbell. But have my ultimate appreciation of their intelligence and honesty to former MP Dawn Black and BC Premier Mike Harcourt.

As I note the political upheavals in relation to homelessness and our city’s purported authorities in bed with developers I have come to the conclusion that none of the mayoral candidates are to my liking. I am not going to vote for the “menos malo”. I will vote for counsellors and I know I will vote for one for sure (every city needs a rabble-rouser) and that is COPE’s Tim Louis. He is no Rankin but close enough for me.

An interesting postcript to the above is that in the early 70s when I was teaching in the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Doctor Illía came to lecture. I told him of my small role in his political end. He smiled at me and said, "You were just obeying orders." Not said was how just a few years later, many in our Argentine military obeyed orders and sent thousands to be disappeared.



No Eggs! No Eggs!
Friday, October 31, 2014




And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
Exodus 2:22


I had a mentor friend in Mexico City who died in his 80s a year ago. Raúl Guerrero Montemayor 9 years after I met him was a witness to my wedding in 1968 to my Rosemary in Coyoacán, Mexico. Raúl spoke at least 8 languages and he could do stuff like speaking Spanish with a Filipino or Yiddish. He was supposed to be of Filipino origin but he was blonde, with blue eyes and always pointed out to us that he was first cousin to actress Yvette Mimieux.

If you had asked, as I did many times, what nationality he claimed to be of he would answer in Spanish, “Soy híbrido.” Somehow that does not translate to English as, “I am a hybrid.” as I think of some exotic variant of a species plant. In many respects I understood Raúl’s definition of what he was in a Borgesian term, “I am all of them but none of them.”

Yesterday I read Borges’s short story Biografía de Tadeo Isidoro Cruz . Unless you are an Argentine who has read José Hernández’s Martín Fierro (one of the quite a few Argentine novels, actually an epic poem that defined the nation) the story would be close to meaningless. Feeling alone in my bed (even though Rosemary was next to me with her NY Times) I felt Argentine but in the isolation of knowing that unless I skyped someone in Buenos Aires, my experience in reading this story was one that I could not share. I felt a stranger in this strange land that is Canada and from the vantage point of Vancouver.

And yet…

Much in our thoughts as we prepare our garden for the winter is wondering how many of these fall cleanups are meant to be. Will this be the last one? I will not deny that as our bank funds dissolve to nothing the great value of our house is a constant reminder that we could soon be living in a small shelter where all the bathrooms (two?) would work and the tub would not leak and the kitchen would not have a white Ikea floor, and the furnace would be efficient, and mice would not invade our basement in the fall to die and stink up my darkroom, and the wooden floors (the nice wooden floors would not longer worry us about their fading), and we would not fear as to what tree might fall on our house in that night windstorm, or about getting Casi-Casi inside before 9pm because of the marauding coyotes or racoons…

But we would not live in White Rock. It would be too far for us to consider going to a concert, or ballet or theatre; our grandchildren would be far away in Vancouver and that tunnel and traffic would be an obstacle. Would we end up playing bridge with people our age and discussing "doing" Machu Picchu? North Van would make us say,” I cannot do this or that until the lanes change.” Perhaps Burnaby (our return to Burnaby) would involve a Lougheed Highway or an East Hastings that would be trifle less congested than the freeway to Coquitlam and points beyond.

Mexico, the warmth of Mexico could beckon. One of the nicest spots on earth is the city of Mérida, Yucatán which has fewer Americans (that’s good!) than San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato. But Mérida would not provide us with a daily delivered NY Times, and a ready supply of constant 110 voltage. Then there are those hurricanes. And I wonder how we would manage to get our monthly supply of pills that keep both of us this side of 70 even though we are that side of it. And the political instability of Mexico would be a constant worry as being away from the presence of our daughters and granddaughter. Would Casi-Casi and Plata (our two cats) navigate in a strange land?

But most of all there is that concern that we would no longer have an efficient (in fact superb) public library that would enable us to take books and DVDs home (imagine that!).

For better or for worse (for better I am almost sure) this strange land of cyan/gray skies, a land where people seem to eschew the telephone and face to face meetings in cafés is a place in which I feel too comfortable to ever leave. I may not belong to it until I am finally resting in some small plot of land or in a little urn in a niche.

And this was not more evident than last night. Thanks to $3.00 RCA cables from my nearby Kerrisdale Dollar Store and the retrieval of my VHS machine from our basement we were able to watch Otto Preminger’s, 1957 Saint Joan with Jean Seberg, Richard Widmark, John Gielgud and the very sweet Irish actor Richard Todd (A scheduling conflict prevented him from being James Bond in Dr. No). That Saint Joan, the film, is based on the play by George Bernard Shaw and has a screenplay by Graham Greene is icing on a very rich cake. What could be a better provider of instant satisfaction after seeing Meg Roe in the Arts Club Theatre’s production of Saint Joan than this film? We were able to compare notes and know at any moment what the lines would be. And I must point out that Limelight Video's VHS copy of Saint Joan is the only game in town.

It is this instant satisfaction (well with just a bit of old fashioned ingenuity as I had to connect the VHS machine to our only TV set, a now ancient Sony Trinitron) that makes us want to stay put. And stay put we will until circumstances force a change.  And for as long as things keep working efficiently in the city of cyan skies.



The Metamorphosis of Death & Kissed
Thursday, October 30, 2014


Lynne Stopkewich

In the early 50s after my family had moved to Mexico City I was sent to the American School in Tacubaya, a poor section of the city where enterprising entrepreneurs had built the huge elementary and high school on cheap land. I was picked up by the orange Colegio Americano bus. We lived in a semi-posh area called Las Lomas de Chapultepec on a street called Sierra Madre. On the way to the school the bus passed by the wall of a huge cemetery called Panteón Dolores. I have to admit here with disappointment that I was never curious enough to explore it from the inside. I can remember the moss growing on the walls and the sphagnum moss hanging from the trees in the cemetery. Here and there from my window I could spy angels and crosses. Alas in all my subsequent trips to Mexico I have never remembered to go and take pictures. 


As beautiful as Vancouver is it is poor in interesting cemeteries. The policy in those after-life establishments is to manicure the lawns with a ride-on lawnmower. Large memorials are thus frowned on. But the cemetery on 41st Avenue did serve me well once.


In 1997 I went to see a Lynne Stopkewich film, Kissed based on Barbara Gowdy’s We So Seldom Look On Love with the then Globe & Mail arts critic, Christopher Dafoe. In the film the little girl (before she becomes the luminous Molly Parker) buries little dead animals in her garden. She uses a blue box, the ones in which Birks jewellery stores wrap their gifts. Because Stopkewich had a smallish budget she could not pay for permission to use the box in her film with the Birks logo showings. Instead she herself drew on paper a flower and stuck it on the box. As soon as I saw the little girl burying the little birds and squirrels with lots of ceremony I knew how I was going to illustrate the article that Dafoe was going to write.

I photographed both Stopkewich and Parker in their hotel room. Stopkewich drew a flower on paper for me. When I photographed Parker, she became for me the only other woman, besides Charlotte Rampling I would readily dump my Rosemary for.

 In the series of pictures here you will see the metamorphosis of the shot. I am including a colour one as in the Metropolitan Edition (Toronto) of the Globe & Mail they ran the colour version. For the photograph I used a Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD with a 140mm Macro Floating Element lens. The b+w film was Ilford FP-4 Plus and the colour slide film was Ektachrome 100 SW.















The Polaroid











Meg Roe Laughs
Wednesday, October 29, 2014



 
Meg Roe



Last night, my Rosemary and I went to the Arts Club Theatre Company opening night presentation of George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan, directed by Kim Collier. It was held at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre. I went prepared for a sombre evening. Somehow it wasn't.

Often memory fails me. I see it as a red carpet behind me that is rolled up as the section in front is rolled out. I have little memory of the two St. Joan films I have seen in my distant past. One was the 1957 film St. Joan with Jean Seberg  directed by Otto Preminger with screenplay by Graham Greene, John Gielgud as the Earl of Warwick, Felix Aylmer as the Inquisitor and Richard Widmark (I wish I could remember that performance!) as the Dauphin, Charles VII. The other was director Victor Fleming’s 1948 Joan of Arc with Ingrid Bergman. Only the Preminger version was based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1924 play.  

In both of those films the two St. Joan protagonists had infamy/fame as accompany baggage which clouded for many the initial perception of the films. Of the latter film, the one with Ingrid Bergman, noted and now retired theatrical critic Christopher Dafoe (there he was (!), on opening night with his son Christopher, former arts critic for the Globe & Mail and now a busy lawyer) told me that in a recent viewing he thought it was more awful than before. On anything about the Arts Club/Kim Collier St. Joan he kept his cards close to his chest  which he accompanied with a delightful and most pleasant smile.

I could cite the excellent performances by Dean Paul Gibson as the Earl of Warwick, of Scott Bellis as the English leaning French cleric, Bishop Cauchon (Costume Designer Christine Reimer, plagued with her actors weating bad theatrical armour, designed a beautiful red bishop's outfit that was spectacular)
and Tom McBeath as the Enquisitor. I do.

I was particularly surprised that in the whole play nobody stood out as an out and out villain. It seemed that events simply happened in a sort of momentum of history. In his preface to the play GBS (he was that many years before John F. Kennedy was JFK) wrote:

There are no villains in the piece. Crime, like disease, is not interesting: it is something to be done away with by general consent, and that is all [there is] about it. It is what men do at their best, with good intentions, and what normal men and women find that they must and will do in spite of their intentions, that really concern us.

His best known biographer Michael Holroyd wrote:

St. Joan is a tragedy without villains and it is Shaw’s only tragedy.”

Interesting to me is the fact that while the Dauphin was crowned on 17 July, 1429, King of France (Charles VII) at Reims (thanks to Joan), on 16 December, 1429, Henry VI of England, was crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris. It also seems that Henry VI may have been present to some of the sittings of Joan’s trial.

Aside from all the fascinating stories behind Shaw’s play I managed to have a short chat with Christopher Gaze, Artistic Director of Bard on the Beach, who having been Shakespeare’s Henry V many times, happens to know more than a little about the Hundred Year’s War (It was Henry V who won at Agincourt before the advent of Joan when things began to sour for the les goddams English). He asked me about the play and I told him, “Your man and that second act were the best.” I did not have to explain that “his man” was Dean Paul Gibson. Gaze called the part of the second act (our mutual favourite) in which you have the Earl of Warwick (Gibson), Bishop Cauchon (Bellis) and Chaplain DeStogumber discussing Joan at a banquet table “the tent scene.” It is here where Shaw mentions subjects with linked together in importance in our 21st century, Christianity, “Mohammedanism”, Protestantism and nationalism. The second part of Act II is where things begin to go against Roe's Joan.

Since I am not a theatre critic I cannot begin to write opinions here that are beyond my basic expertise of clicking shutters. But since I am not a theatre critic I can venture into other areas without having to delve in that journalistic rule of when, where and how.

Sometime in the 80s I listened in my car to a recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 (the one with that most impossible part for a clarino trumpet). I had to stop the car to see what was wrong with my tape deck. The concerto directed by Pablo Casals was much too fast. Nothing was wrong. It was just a startlingly new approach to the music by Casals. I soon got used to it. Now most other recordings or the many live performances have attended have all seemed agonizingly slow.

With the performance of Jean Seberg as Joan somewhere in my hidden neurons I was completely taken off guard by Meg Roe’s take on Joan in the first act. She laughed, she giggled and she did more laughing and more giggling. I was taken aback. Was this in Shaw’s script (perhaps in pencil, laugh, giggle, laugh)? Was this a crazed conspiracy between the one female actor Roe (there were two female singers in the play, Christine Quintana and Shannon Chan-Kent) and the female director Kim Collier?

I thought about this and immediately went back to the memory of the relationship that actress Molly Parker had with director Lynne Stopkewich in Kissed, 1996, and Suspicious River, 2000, films, intense films, that were made possible, I believe, only because of that special relationship that only two women can have as I wrote here?

Gaze told me that Collier instructed Dean Paul Gibson to speak with a marked English accent (I liked that!). Did Collier tell Roe to laugh and giggle?

After the shock of that first act reinforced by the several occasions in which Rowe (not a tall woman) stood next to Captain Robert de Baudricourt played by Bob Frazer, a tall man, which made the result one that almost made me giggle, I realized I was watching something akin to Casal’s Brandenburg. This was a performance that was going to grow on me with time. This was another Roe Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe? ,The Penelopiad , Toronto, Mississippi kind of performance.

By the third act Roe came back to familiar territory and was the actress I have been used to savouring. Roe was devastating as the suffering Joan about to be burned at the stake.

In the middle of the night after I had returned home it dawned on me that as a frequent theatre goer I can assert here that if there is any play in which Meg Roe is in the cast that is enough justification to go and see it. And one must trust, as I now trust, her judgment on how she will interpret her part. It comes from someone who exceeds the high standards that our city imposes on its actors.

There is a word for this in Spanish. We call such people fenómenos. I have used it to describe the dancing of Evelyn Hart. We have Evelyn Hart. We have Meg Roe. We are so lucky. 

Indeed Jean Seberg as St. Joan smiles and laughs, too


Addendum: Sometimes my Rosemary has trouble hearing an actor who speaks away from where we might be sitting. The Stanley has had a problem here for us for some time. I am happy to report that she tried the special sound enhancing earphones, available (at the coat check), and that they were a success.   



David Pay's PEP Rally For New Music
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nicole Li - October 27 2014


Fortunately I do not believe in a local cultural conspiracy theory that would suggest that at any concert presentation of New Music, be it the Turning Point Ensemble or David Pay's ambitious and edgy Modulus Festival (from October 23 to 29) a would-be a cultural terrorist could be out terminate with extreme prejudice all the contemporary composers of our city. That would be easy since at these events many of those composers are present.

Our would-be cultural terrorist would be one who would have reverse views to Gavrilo Princip who in his assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, wanted to destroy the old order. Our would-be Vancouver cultural terrorist would be wanting to do the opposite which is to leave our music scene as it is or was recently. And that would be a music scene that would remain boring and tried.

Five of those composers (noted in the program of PEP or Piano and Erhu Project) with Corey Hamm on piano and Nicole Li on erhu were present last night. These were Edward Top, Jocelyn Morlock, Jared Miller, Dorothy Chang and Keith Hamel. Without looking too far I noticed two more, John Oliver and Owen Underhill.

A smart bomb consisting of a loud recording of any Tchaikovsky symphony with some extras like any song by Neil Diamond and a Vivaldi Four Seasons would, in one fell sweep, terminate our new music composers.

Last night I was not there to listen to predictable music. This would have been impossible to begin with as al five compositions on the program were world premieres. Pianist Cory Hamm and Erhudist (is that correct?) Nicole Li decided together a couple of years ago that our city was ripe for musical melding of cultures. Judging by this amateur's reaction last night to PEP, it was a felicitous success. I cannot wait for a possible composition my Mark Armanini for Erhu and Cello (Nicole Li and Marina Hasselberg). 

Listening to all five of the brand-new compositions I noted three things. The most “Chinese sounding”, an appraisal by this musical amateur was Edward Top’s Lamentation. Edward Top was the VSO’s Composer in Residence last year. This year’s VSO Composer in Residence, Jocelyn Morlock, was the least “Chinese sounding”. 'Her Vespertine - II Verdegris  was lyrical and after just a few seconds of listening to it, Li’s Erhu sounded very much like the bowed string instrument that it is.

Dorothy Chang’s Four Short Poems of Fancy were whimsical and funny at times. The fourth movement, green sheep tango, was indeed a tango to this Argentine. Keith Hamel’s Homage to Liu Wenjin (a recently departed Chinese composer) shifted between soft him to soft Hamel. It was satisfying, respectful and if you happened to have seen Hamel in the audience and noticed his soft smile you would have known why. He is a gentle man who plays the lute. I first met up with Hamel’s music here.

It was Jared Miller (born in 1988 which makes him three years younger than Nicole Li whose work, Captive, with lots of complex banging on the piano and bowing on the Erhu that made me sit up. I could have been listening to a meeting between Thelonius Monk and Eric Dolphy. It felt primal and like the other four pieces I can quote Liz Hamel (singer, recorder player and partner to Keith Hamel) “This was one concert that was much too short.” I could have stayed for more.

In my musical ignorance I can imagine Bach on a keyboard, plunking tentative notes while his wife notes them down. I can imagine Beethoven sitting at the piano composing a bagatelle and being flummoxed by having to imagine the sounds. In both cases the composers were experts in knowing the capabilities of the instruments being composed for.  There is no record of Adolphe Sax (he would have been 13 when Beethoven died) asking the master “Would you be willing to compose something for my new instrument?”

How did these five composers write the music for Hamm and Li? One answer was forthcoming and immediate from Morlock who told me that her Vespertine II Verdegris had been composed 11 years before for piano and harp. I can only guess that Hamm, Li and Morlock got together one day and adapted it. Of Top's "Chinese sounding" composition, she said, "He probably wanted to make it so."

It was Jared Miller’s piece that led me to think that the act of composition of anything for a brand new instrument (in this case the erhu, pronounced R-who, an instrument known in China for a millennium) must entail intimate knowledge of the instrument. I can imagine Miller showing up a Li’s house and saying, “Show me what you can do with that.”  I wonder if there are any places in Miller’s composition where Li might have needed to learn a new technique.

All in all the evening was one of big surprises in small packages in which the warm demeanor of Cory Hamm’s face while he played made me think that had he been the principal at a school I would not have been afraid to be sent to his office. It made the music, startling at times, much more reachable to me.

As for Nicole Li, a very different young girl from the one I photographed with cellist Marina Hasselberg for the Georgia Straight, I was amazed. In the photo session she was a younger girl (I could swear she was wearing pigtails even if she wasn’t). At the concert, long hair down, she was the Oriental femme fatale, an authentic one that would have been played in the 50s in Hollywood by Gene Tierney. Li was wearing a very tight long, black dress with a slit (a very long slit) on the left side. Her shoes were beautiful, just right, and her bright red lipstick was reminiscent of the Jazz, Red, Hot & Cool by Revlon  worn by model on Dave Brubeck Quartet Cover by Richard Avedon.

Nicole Li playing her erhu was grown up, determined and playing her instrument (difficult not to note here that she has lovely hands with long fingers) with an assurance of one who has been at it for a long time. I have always been amazed at the sound and complexity that can come out of that four-stringed instrument, the violin. It is thus amzing the Li's erhu has only two.



It was most pleasant to observe that in dressing up Li showed how important this debut was (including the release of a CD with two more to come) and that those New Music Composers and Corey Hamm himself (who did wear a suit) might have followed Li's elegant cue.   

What is new music?  

Addendum: As I stood with my ticket waiting to get into the concert hall of the Roundhouse I was hit by a nostalgic wave from my built-in GPS. I realized that on the very spot where I was standing, there were remnants of the tracks used by locomotives, in a not so distant past, as they were pushed to the outside where they were turned around as their bottom innards were inspected for repairs. It was in that spot where in the late 80s I was dispatched by Canadian Pacific Limited (I worked for them on contract)  to photograph the Royal Hudson which was being repaired at what at the time was called the Drake Street Yard. While the memory makes me feel older it also makes me marvel at some of the marvelous opportunities that my camera was a passport for. 



A Small Window Of Opportunity
Monday, October 27, 2014

Rebecca Anne Stewart, 17, October 26 2014


On October 26 Rebecca asked me to photograph her. I took advantage of the small window of opportunity. I was able to shoot two Fuji 3200 ISO instant film prints and a few, exactly 10, with my Fuji X-E1 before my session was terminated.





Pray Gather Me, Anemone!
Sunday, October 26, 2014


Anemone hupihensis October 24 2014


 A bout of insomnia this Friday night (but now early Saturday morning ) has me at my computer writing a blog about yesterday (Friday) and the flowers I found in the garden so that I can post it today Saturday for Sunday’s blog tomorrow.

I did not know that I have been pushing a self-propelled lawn mower (new last spring) for months not knowing that the belt connecting the motor to the wheels had come off. When I had to mow the long boulevard (it is at an incline) I was huffing and puffing it. After a few minutes I would go inside and have a glass of orange juice and waiting for my heart to slow down and for my lungs to fill with air. Today I discovered the loose pulley and suddenly mowing the lawn (and using it as a vacuum to suck up all the debris that came down in the windstorm a few days ago) was not so much of a chore. But it still took me four hours so exhaustion might be the reason for the insomnia.

Two plants showed off today. One was the lowly (in some quarters but not in mine) Anemone hupihensis which does flower in late summer. The other was a startling light yellow English Rose called  Rosa ‘Crocus Rose’. I could not resist sniffing it. Sniffing a wonderfully fragrant rose at this time of the year is a pleasure that rarely happens in my shady garden. Of the anemone I did not think anybody of note might have written a poem about it. I was wrong:


Emily Dickinson (1830–86).  Complete Poems.  1924.

Part Three: Love

XL



SUMMER for thee grant I may be    

  When summer days are flown!      

Thy music still when whippoorwill 

  And oriole are done!

 

For thee to bloom, I’ll skip the tomb              5

  And sow my blossoms o’er!   

Pray gather me, Anemone,

  Thy flower forevermore!

And of course I have known for years that Jorge Luís Borges wrote a very short story featuring a yellow rose (the English version follows the Spanish one):


Rosa Çrocus Rose' October 24 2014


Una Rosa Amarilla



Por Jorge Luis Borges



Ni aquella tarde ni la otra murió el ilustre Giambattista Marino, que las bocas unánimes de la Fama (para usar la imagen que le fue cara) proclamaron el nuevo Homero y el nuevo Dante, pero el hecho inmóvil y silencioso que entonces ocurrió fue en verdad el último de su vida. Colmado de años y de gloria, el hombre moría en un vasto lecho español de columnas labradas. Nada cuesta imaginar a unos pasos un sereno balcón que mira al poniente y, más abajo, mármoles y laureles y un jardín que duplica sus graderías en una agua rectangular. Una mujer ha puesto en una copa una rosa amarilla; el hombre murmura los versos inevitables que a él mismo, para hablar con sinceridad, ya lo hastían un poco:



Púrpura del jardín, pompa del prado, gema de primavera,



ojo de abril…



Entonces ocurrió la revelación. Marino vio la rosa, como Adán pudo verla en el Paraíso, y sintió que ella estaba en su eternidad y no en sus palabras y que podemos mencionar o aludir pero no expresar y que los altos y soberbios volúmenes que formaban un ángulo de la sala una penumbra de oro no eran (como en vanidad soñó) un espejo del mundo, sino una cosa más agregada al mundo.



Esta iluminación alcanzó Marino en la víspera de su muerte, y Homero y Dante acaso la alcanzaron también.



Borges, Luis Jorge. El hacedor. Ed. Debolsillo. 1ra edición en México en agosto del 2012.





A Yellow Rose

J. L. Borges





Neither that afternoon nor the next did the illustrious Giambattista Marino die, he whom the unanimous mouths of Fame — to use an image dear to him — proclaimed as the new Homer and the new Dante. But still, the noiseless fact that took place then was in reality the last event of his life. Laden with years and with glory, he lay dying in a huge Spanish bed with carved bedposts. It is not hard to imagine a serene balcony a few steps away, facing the west, and, below, marble and laurels and a garden whose various levels are duplicated in a rectangle of water. A woman has placed in a goblet a yellow rose. The man murmurs the inevitable lines that now, to tell the truth, bore even him a little:



Purple of the garden, pomp of the meadow,

Gem of the spring, April’s eye . . .



Then the revelation occured: Marino saw the rose as Adam might have seen it in Paradise, and he thought that the rose was to be found in its own eternity and not in his words; and that we may mention or allude to a thing, but not express it; and that the tall, proud volumes casting a golden shadow in a corner were not — as his vanity had dreamed — a mirror of the world, but rather one thing more added to the world.



Marino achieved this illumination on the eve of his death, and Homer and Dante may have achieved it as well.



[From Dreamtigers, by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Mildred Boyer]



     

Previous Posts
Lee Lytton III & Friendly & Warm Ghosts

San Valentín

From Simple To Complex

Leaning Towards Irrelevancy

Nevertheless She Persisted - For Allan Morgan - My...

El Reloj de Arena - The Hour Glass - Jorge Luís Bo...

An Officer and a Gentleman & An Anniversary

el ayelmado tripolio que ademenos es de satén rosa...

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6/18/06 - 6/25/06

6/25/06 - 7/2/06

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